Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why Should I Watch "The Social Network"?

Well, the highly anticipated movie "The Social Network" finally hits theaters tomorrow (Friday). I admit that I could be classified as a Facebook junkie, but why should I watch this movie? Times are tough, and I have Netflix. In all honesty, I'm not going to spend money on any movie right now unless it's a really special occasion. So, let's just say that it's months down the road, the "The Social Network" is available on Netflix, and I'm updating my queue. Should I add it? Here are the thoughts running through my head:
"No, just because you use Facebook, doesn't mean a movie about it will be interesting."
"Well, it was directed by David Fincher."
"They basically show the whole plot in the preview, so why go sit through it for 2 hours?
"Well, it was directed by David Fincher."

Obviously, I have this re-occurring thought that I should give the movie a chance because it was directed by, you guessed it, David Fincher. He is a very talented filmmaker. Do you recall the chills you felt during  Se7en as Brad Pitt's character is on the phone yelling, "What's in the box?" What about the last scene in Fight Club where Ed Norton and Helena Bonham Carter are holding hands and looking out the window as buildings come crashing down, all while the Pixies', "Where is my Mind?" plays. I mean, wow! I also heard that David Fincher is directing the English remake of the Swedish hit, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Have you read that book yet? If not, you really need to.)

All these reasons to love David Fincher and yet I'm still not 100% sure about this movie. I'll probably wait until the hype fades and I hear what others have to say about it. What do you think? Are you excited about this movie? How do you feel about David Fincher and his films? What's your favorite Fincher film? We want to hear from you. Let's talk about it!

-- Elizabeth Millar, Senior Marketing Coordinator, ABC-CLIO, and former resident blogger for Pop Culture Universe.


Learn more about David Fincher's films with the new Praeger book, David Fincher: Films That Scar by Mark Browning.

There is a growing critical consensus that David Fincher is one of the most talented filmmakers in contemporary Hollywood. He has reanimated the crime genre, created films that make audiences question the boundaries between art and reality, and challenged Hollywood's crushing commercial drive for narrative closure. What motivates this exceptionally talented stylist?

Film scholar Mark Browning offers the first detailed analysis of the work of David Fincher, director of the critically acclaimed films Se7en, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Toys and American Culture Author Video Goes Live!

Sharon Scott, toy enthusiast and author of Greenwood's Toys and American Culture: An Encyclopedia stopped by the ABC-CLIO booth at ALA Annual to give a sneak peek into her new book.

What the reviewers are saying about Toys and American Culture:

"...this entertaining guide to American culture will find an interested audience in school, public and academic libraries." - Lawrence Looks at Books, January 2010

"An excellent purchase for most public libraries and academic libraries with an emphasis on contemporary culture." - Booklist, May 2010

"A must-have volume for toy collectors, writers, and researchers, and an outstanding resource for anyone who ever played with toys..." - Midwest Book Review, June 2010

Visit the Toys and American Culture Facebook page here.

For more informative (and fun!) author videos, visit ABC-CLIO's YouTube channel: ABCCLIOLive

Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week - Learn More with ABC-CLIO Resources

Commend the Freedom to Read!

September 25—October 2 is Banned Books Week, a nationwide celebration hosted by library, literary, and free expression organizations to bring awareness to the continual challenge of the First Amendment right to intellectual freedom. Since 1982, when library activist Judith Krug founded Banned Books Week, almost 1,000 books have been challenged to be banned; even as recent as 2009, 460 were contested. These range from J. K. Rowling's contemporary fantasy Harry Potter series to Alice Walker's prolifically taught classic The Color Purple to the children's book And Tango Makes Three. Complaints against these and numerous other titles largely stem from concerns that their contents are too inappropriate for placement in school libraries and curriculums. Book contenders have apprehended such subject matter as influencing students with material too occult, sexually inappropriate, offensive, violent, politically incorrect, unpatriotic, racist, heretical, profane, or demeaning, among other attributes. Outside the education sector, political incentives often factor into efforts to ban particular books. Just recently, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency scrambled to purchase all publications of the newly released Afghanistan War memoir, Operation Dark Heart, which the government claimed contained sensitive classified material. Needless to say, the suppression of books is not an archaic issue.

For a more in-depth look at the historical and current controversies surrounding the censorship of literature, check out these reputable ABC-CLIO titles:

Resources on Censorship

Authors Who Have Been Challenged or Banned

--Ashley Hyder, ABC-CLIO Writer/Editor, Issues and American Government

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hot Topic: Polygamy

I just saw a preview for the new TLC show Sister Wives. At first glance, I thought it was a fictional show, and since I'm a big fan of HBO's Big Love, it kept my attention. As it turns out, however, this is a reality show about a man who lives with his three wives and how they deal with their controversial lifestyle. This got me to thinking: How many folks really live like this? Do I know people who are closet polygamists? Is their lifestyle wrong because it isn't considered 'normal'?

The show is already stirring up controversy and I'm positive there will continue to be strong reactions after the show premieres this weekend, but it is easy for people to pass judgment on lifestyle choices without first knowing the facts.

To learn more about polygamy, check out the new book from Praeger, Polygamy in the Monogamous World: Multicultural Challenges for Western Law and Policy by Martha Bailey and Amy J. Kaufman. This book provides a careful examination of legal polygamy in non-Western countries and plural unions in North America.

It covers such topics as:
• Aboriginal Marriage
• Child Brides
• Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
• Closed Communities
• Comparative Law
• Gender Equality
• Incidents of Marriage
• Islamic Marriage Laws
• Legal Pluralism
• Marriage Laws
• Multiculturalism
• Muslims
• Plural Unions
• Religious Freedom

We want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on this timely topic?
--Elizabeth Millar, Senior Marketing Coordinator, ABC-CLIO

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ABC-CLIO Defining Moments Downloadables Win EDDIE Award

We are pleased to announce that ABC-CLIO's Defining Moments Downloadables have been awarded the 2010 EDDIE award for Teacher Tools in the Social Studies category. 
"The ComputED Gazette's EDDIE Awards target innovative and content-rich programs and websites that augment the classroom curriculum and improve teacher productivity. Some selection criteria are academic content, potential for broad classroom use, technical merit, subject approach and management system. Winners are selected from titles submitted by publishers around the world."

Defining Moments is a unique series using alternative history — posing questions such as "what if key events had come out differently?" — to teach both history and critical thinking skills. This series of primary source-based lessons ($5 each) covers the whole American history. 

A complete list of winners and a review of the product can be found here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Author Events: Holly Kearl

Holly Kearl, author of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, might be coming to a city near you to speak on the important issues raised in her book.

Did you miss Holly Kearl's guest ABC-CLIO blog post? Read it here!

Schedule of Events
  • Oct. 8: Panelist at Santa Clara University Women and Gender Studies 30th anniversary event, 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 9-12: TBA events in San Jose, Fresno and Los Angeles with AAUW members
  • Oct. 13: Book talk at Village Books, Pacific Palisades, CA, 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 14: Talk at University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Oct. 15 or 16 (TBA): Talk at the University of Anchorage, Alaska
  • Oct. 20-26 (TBA): Talks at the University of Iowa
  • Oct. 14: Talk at University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Oct. 15 or 16 (TBA): Talk at the University of Anchorage, Alaska
  • Nov. 11: Workshop co-presenter with SAFER at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, Denver, CO.
  • Nov. 22-24 (date TBA): 3rd International Conference on Women's Safety, Delhi, India

For more information on Holly's upcoming appearances, to contact Holly, or to check for updates, please visit her website.

Holly and Stop Street Harassment have also been making headlines. Read more about her book and upcoming appearances below.

The Women's International Perspective: "Working for Safer Streets for Women Everywhere"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Author Videos Go Live!

AASL President-Elect, school librarian, and author, Carl A. Harvey provides easy ways to involve your principal in your school library. More tips like these can be found in his book, No School Library Left Behind.

Helen Adams, former Wisconsin school library media specialist and technology coordinator, gives helpful ways to overcome censorship in your library. Further reading on this topic can be found in her book, Ensuring Intellectual Freedom and Access to Information in the School Library Media Program.

Author and consultant Joseph Matthews provides three easy ways to create a more customer-focused library. More tips like these can be found in his new book, The Customer-Focused Library: Re-Inventing the Public Library From the Outside-In.

Bob Dugan, Dean of Libraries at University of West Florida and author, presents applicable tips on improving your library through metrics assessment. Dugan coauthored the book, Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives, with Peter Hernon, who can be found in this video conveying the importance and advantages of using metrics in your library.

Visit our YouTube channel ABCCLIOLive to view all of the latest author videos.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview with author David M. Allen

David M. Allen's new book How Dysfunctional Families Spur Mental Disorders: A Balanced Approach to Resolve Problems and Reconcile Relationships (Praeger, 7/2010) examines various scientific, economic, and cultural forces that have affected the mental health field's viewpoint—and that of society in general—regarding the genesis of some behavioral disorders, and how dysfunctional family dynamics play an often overlooked role.

Q. David, what motivated you to write this book?
A. As someone who specializes in the treatment of patients who engage in repetitive self-destructive behavior but who are not really mentally ill, I became alarmed at the direction that my profession--psychiatry--was moving in. Many mental health professionals have been telling these patients that they have “bipolar II” or “adult ADHD” and need potentially toxic meds, when the real problem is often that their family life is a war zone.

How Dysfunctional Families Spur Mental Disorders is the first book by a psychiatric insider that explains exactly how and why relationship problems have been falsely turned into mental illnesses. Although medication can calm people down and help with depression, family dysfunction cannot be treated with pharmaceuticals. This book tells readers everything they need to know in order to step up and save their families by finding the right kind of help in repairing their important relationships: psychotherapy that addresses recurring problematic family interactions.

Q. What do you hope to get across and what issues do you wish to highlight?
A. The book is meant to make a case for restoring the rightful place of interpersonal and particularly family functioning in the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders, and helping patients to understand the difference between behavior problems and real mental illnesses according to our current level of knowledge. 

In the past, real mental illnesses, like autism and schizophrenia, were unjustly blamed on family problems, but now the field has gone to the other extreme and every behavioral problem has been turned into a brain disease requiring medication. The book describes how family systems issues have been systematically denigrated in mental health by a combination of greedy pharmaceutical and managed care insurance companies, naïve and corrupt experts, twisted science, and guilty parents who would rather label their children as bipolar than to look at their family interactions.

"This volume is essential reading for both consumers and providers alike."
John Rosemond, family psychologist, speaker, and best-selling author 

Q. Who will benefit the most from reading this book?
A. I want to give people with difficult interpersonal issues hope that complex problematic or abusive family behavior can be changed, and to warn them about what sort of mental health treatments and “diagnoses” are not helpful. The book aims to decrease the guilt and self loathing that so often prevents people from seeking the right kind of treatment and to educate potential consumers of mental health services about what to look for. It lets them know in lay terms something about the science involved: what we know, what is conjecture, what we do not know, and what is completely bogus.

People within the mental health professions might also find the book of interest because I also go into detail about how pharmaceutical companies and others with an agenda have successfully hijacked medical education and misled clinicians, both at the trainee and active practitioner levels. As the director of a psychiatric training program myself for over 16 years, I had ample opportunity to watch this first hand.

Q. All families have their problems. So what makes a family "dysfunctional"?
A. I am not talking here about the relatively minor interpersonal difficulties that we all have. Although a general definition of significant family dysfunction is difficult to put in words, it is not subtle at all when you see it.  I think of such things as child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, absent or totally inconsistent disciplining of children, extreme invalidation of family members’ feelings and opinions, frequent double message giving, substance abuse, and the like. Despite what you may read in some places, none of these problems is rare.

David M. Allen, M.D. is a professor of psychiatry and the former director of psychiatric residency training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, a position he held for 16 years. Prior to that he was in the private practice in psychiatry in Southern California for 13 years during the advent of managed care health insurance. Additionally, he has done research into personality disorders and is the author of three books for psychotherapists. In his spare time he doubles as a singer and rhythm guitar player in an amateur rock and roll band and as a movie buff.  You can follow him on his blog: or stay in touch with him by joining his Facebook fan page at!/pages/David-M-Allen-MD/80658565761?ref=ts

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Videos Link You Directly to Storytelling Experts

ABCCLIOLive brings our award-winning authors, their books, methods, and guidance straight to you!

Dianne de Las Casas, author and award-winning storyteller, presents original stories and tales from around the world using household items and imagination! Get more of these great ideas from her book, Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take. Also, check out Dianne's recent guest blog post.

Judy Freeman, writer, speaker, and storyteller, performs some of her best-known stories. Create interest in literacy by implementing these fun stories in your library! Judy has many more storytelling favorites in her book, Once Upon a Time: Using Storytelling, Creative Drama, and Reader's Theater with Children in Grades PreK-6.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Author Video: Cooking with the Bible

Author Anthony Chiffolo sits down with us at ALA Annual and talks about the food and recipes found in his book, Cooking with the Bible: Recipes for Biblical Meals. To watch more informative author podcasts, visit ABC-CLIO's YouTube Channel: ABCCLIOLive.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Student Guide to Climate and Weather

The recent arrival of Hurricane Earl is a not-so-gentle reminder that the study of the weather continues to be a vital one. From shocking events like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to the devastating tornadoes, droughts, and floods that occur every year in various corners of the globe, we are constantly reminded just how much we are affected by weather and climate conditions. Understanding the weather is essential to our lives.

Angus M. Gunn's Student Guide to Climate and Weather (Greenwood, 1/2010) is a comprehensive guide to the weather, climate, and their impact on human life. The book is featured on Booklist's "20 Best Bets for Student Researchers: 2010" list (September 1, 2010 issue) and is recommended by Booklist for public and high school libraries (June 1, 2010 issue).

Related Titles of Interest:

Arctic Doom, Arctic Boom: The Geopolitics of Climate Change in the Arctic by Barry Scott Zellen
Climate Change and Security: A Gathering Storm of Global Challenges by Christian Webersik
Climate Change: A Reference Handbook by David L. Downie, Kate Brash, and Catherine Vaughan
Gaia's Revenge: Climate Change and Humanity's Loss by P. H. Liotta, Allan W. Shearer
Global Warming by Brian C. Black and Gary J. Weisel
Global Warming 101 by Bruce E. Johansen 
The Encyclopedia of Global Warming Science and Technology by Bruce E. Johansen
When Nature Strikes: Weather Disasters and the Law by Marsha L. Baum

History and the Headlines: A Free Resource

Along with Matthew J. Flynn's guest entry on Counterinsurgency [See blog entry from September 1, 2010], ABC-CLIO offers even more information on this important topic in the recent edition of the History and the Headlines newsletter.

History and the Headlines, a new free resource offered by ABC-CLIO Schools, provides the background teachers need to help their students dissect and understand an important event in an easily accessible format. When breaking news hits, look to ABC-CLIO's History and the Headlines. Click here for past issues and to sign up for the newsletter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Author Guest Post: Matthew Flynn on Counterinsurgency

History and Better Policy
by Matthew J. Flynn

The historian may well be tempted to reflect on the American experience in Afghanistan and say out loud, ‘I told you so.’ As the American build-up there accelerated under the Obama administration, a public debate over how to avoid the ill fate of previous self-declared liberators of that area was largely muted if it occurred at all. Yet, historical analysis would have offered such a warning. Conquerors from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union struggled to control this region. Such a historical pattern does not ensure a repetition of the past in the present, but some assessment of how those situations do or do not relate to the present may have favorably informed the American policy objective in Afghanistan. One should attempt to reach beyond merely assigning blame for this policy failure. The historical perspective suggested here would not have predicted the adverse results currently in Afghanistan. Instead, policy makers could have used this history to anticipate possible difficulties and weigh the value of continued intervention in Afghanistan. Should the necessity of intervention be justified, then the hardships now encountered would be worth the struggle.

This kind of historical reflection had been done by the US military in at least one respect. Once a greater commitment of US troops to Afghanistan came under consideration, senior commanders carefully analyzed the counterinsurgency (COIN) approach to be waged by this increased force. As a result, at least one historical misstep was avoided, and that was a reliance on conventional forces seeking a battlefield victory to end the insurgency. Rather, the US military prepared for a struggle with the security of the Afghan population foremost in mind, a focus it had applied in Iraq after much trial and error. A better COIN doctrine may now be exposed as inadequate in Afghanistan, but it was consciously attempted, allowing the US military to boast of having learned quickly from any missteps in Iraq.

This success separated the United States from other states that had enjoyed a marked military superiority over the enemy and relied almost exclusively on conventional military force to try and end an insurgency. This counterinsurgency approach inevitably failed, a failure all the more remarkable given that these states often had successfully conducted counterinsurgency operations in the past because they broke free of a reliance on conventional military force. This reality is the topic of my book, Contesting History: the Bush Counterinsurgency Legacy in Iraq (Praeger, 6/2010), a study that also makes it clear how the United States avoided this historical pitfall in Iraq. 

Unfortunately, the region is still a spring board for terrorism exposing the policy designed to mitigate this threat as a failure no matter any tactical successes derived from a COIN doctrine centered on protecting the population. One reason why is that the US experience in Afghanistan has raised the question whether population centric operations at times require conventional military operation as well in order to protect that population. In turn, the issue becomes, can COIN succeed given this tension? The importance of this inquiry again highlights the value of historical perspective for the question immediately rises, is this tension unique to Afghanistan or has it been present in past conflicts? Any response to this point calls attention to the need for historical analysis to play a key role in shaping COIN doctrine.

--Matthew J. Flynn

Matthew J. Flynn, Ph.D., is a specialist in comparative warfare of the United States and the world. Flynn taught history courses at Ohio University and San Diego State University before accepting a position at Arizona State University in 2005. He currently teaches in the international division of the History Department at the United States Military Academy, West Point. He has written extensively on international military history, including a study of preemptive warfare titled, First Strike: Preemptive War in Modern History (May 2008). His first book, China Contested (2006), looks at the permeability of the political borders that Western powers established in China from 1500 to the present.  Flynn is also co-authoring a volume that asks its American reader to weigh side-by-side the venerable George Washington and the unscrupulous Napoleon Bonaparte. The book, Washington and Napoleon, will be published by Potomac Books in mid-2010.